The latter, it goes without saying, is one of the only indispensable forms of public service in a free country. But so is the former -- among other reasons, it's the engine that produces the tax revenues that allow those engaged in "collective service" to "help" others through redistributing this income.
I'm not a fan of "collective" anything -- especially collectivist economics. And Boaz is right to criticize John McCain's attacks on Mitt Romney's business background. But I can understand a politician who sees military service as the apex of public service much better than one who ignores it altogether.
It strikes me as telling -- and disturbing -- that Barack apparently doesn't see the private sector or the military as a "virtuous" career choice on par with the "softer" forms of government service. Perhaps in academic circles, it isn't.